Monsters. Those things that as a child scared us, gave us nightmares and provided us with so many hours of fun. If you were like me you grew up on monsters. I was never into playing (or watching for that matter) sports of any kind. My Saturday afternoons were spent in front of the television trying to draw in with rabbit ears channel 56 out of Boston, Massachusetts, with their weekly Creature Double Feature show. In the safety of daylight I was thrilled week after week with giant bugs, Godzilla and all of the Universal and Hammer classics.
Earlier this year I did a blog on the company REMCO Toys, emphasizing their monster figure line (seen HERE). Not only was this a great introduction to the toys, but it also introduced us to Kris Mobley, an artist who grew up with these toys and wanted to create a limited edition tribute to the Creature From The Black Lagoon figure.
The Daves would like to once again welcome guest blogger Brandon Engel to this site, expressing his opinions on the best monster movies of the 1980’s!
An argument can be made the 1980s was the true golden age of the monster movie — a time when no theme was deemed too ridiculous and just about any inanimate object could become consumed by evil. Here are some of the “best” monster movies from the decade that gave us Pac-Man and Madonna:
On Saturday April 4th, we arrived back in Chicago (after doing TWO zoos; Louisville and Indianapolis) and ate lasagna at my place before relaxing on this final night of our vacation. We hunkered down for the night and watched two movies together; the old sci-fi classic, It Came from Outer Space, and a new movie David had gotten on Blu-ray called Digging up the Marrow. Though we’d watched several movies during our trip on DVD, including Wolfcop (which was okay), Love in the Time of Monsters (which was also okay), What we do in the Shadows(which was really funny), Animal (which we liked), Dark Haul(which was bad) and Muck(which was even WORSE) we inadvertently saved the best for last!
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome guest writer, and winner of our “Hidden Horror Contest,” Mark Spangler!
Book Review: “The Monster Show”
By Mark Spangler
“All monsters are expressions or symbols of some kind of birth process, however distorted or bizarre.” So says David J. Skal in the opening sentence of chapter ten in his book “The Monster Show” (W.W. Norton & Company). Don’t let the name fool you. Like many a horror film (“I Married A Monster From Outer Space” comes to mind), there’s much more substance lurking behind the exploitative title than the name – or any name – could possibly indicate. The subtitle, “A cultural history of horror” is a much more accurate depiction of what the reader will find in these well-researched and analyzed 432 pages. From a fun-filled exploration of teen-oriented films on the 50’s drive-in circuit to an examination of the role that horror film escapism played in helping to digest the real-life calamities of 20th century war, this book runs the gambit from the terrific terrors of the silver screen to a common-sense analysis of why these motion pictures are not only fun, but of vital importance to the culture. No stop is ignored in this horrific journey and we joyfully ride along with Mr. Skal as he explores the brilliance and tragedy of director Tod Browning’s early film work, the European influence on early-American horror cinema, freakshow biographies, , monster-comedy, and two monster kid classics; “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and Aurora model monster kits (I had the Mummy). We also visit the artistry of make-up professionals throughout the history of the film industry, reflect upon the horror-inspired artwork of Diane Arbus, visit the late and beloved Forrest J. Ackerman in his “Ackermansion”, examine technical tidbits of films old and new and finally end up with the real-life terrors of HIV, the Gulf War and Oprah.
There are so many movie guides out there today that it is really difficult at times to choose which ones we should buy. They range in quality from very good (like Bill Warren’s “Keep Watching The Skies“) to dreadful (like Rob Craig’s “It Came From 1957“) but at least one thing can be said, movies from the 1950’s are getting more coverage than ever. When it comes to movies, my favorites all came from the 1950’s. No other time period has been more prolific when it comes to monster and science fictions films. Though many of these films are now considered classics, there were many stinkers as well. At least most of these stinkers have their own charm and are still fun to watch even today. The book I am reviewing today, “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes: A Front Row Look at the Sci-Fi/Horror Films of the 1950s“, by Mark Thomas McGee and R.J. Robertson, covers these movies in a way not really seen before, which is why I highly recommend it.